Monday, October 6, 2014

Signature Style Week: Hello Kitty Liberty of London!

Well, my photo shoot plans had to be cancelled for the typhoon we are currently experiencing here in Tokyo (Typhoon Phanfone, which I keep misreading as Pantone)--the kids' school is even closed today!  But I did finish my final look for this season's Project Run and Play, Signature Style Week.

This kind of challenge often stymies me, because it's so wide open--what IS my personal style?  And how does that translate when I am sewing for someone else?  Someone who has opinions, and increasingly strong ones at that?  Well, this week it all came together with an outfit that we are both really happy with.

On my first fabric shopping trip in Tokyo, I found this amazing Liberty of London print featuring Hello Kitty on Tana Cotton Lawn.

Hello Kitty in a formal garden!
Now, if you know me, this does not sound like the beginning of a signature style look for me.  I normally steer clear of licensed characters on the kids' clothing, and I am always in search of a bargain, which Liberty of London most definitely is not.  But I had just gotten my first-ever Liberty print using a gift certificate I had won, and I was still all aflutter with how lovely it was.  And the kitties (which, as I'm sure you know, are not actually kitties at all) were subtle--a fun little accent and nod to our recent arrival in Japan.  And I knew Little Sister would go crazy for it, since she never gets to have characters on anything except her underwear.  So since it was 20% off, I went for it, and thus marks the most money I have spent on fabric for a garment ever.  And it wasn't even for me!  But I was right--as soon as she saw the fabric, she started bugging me--"When are you going to make my Hello Kitty dress?  Have you made my Hello Kitty dress yet?  Are you making my Hello Kitty dress today?"

Lucky duck!
For the dress, I used The Caroline Party Dress from Mouse House Creations, a pattern I had purchased a while back but had yet to try.  The classic design seemed perfect for this cotton lawn, and I love the peter pan collar for a little accent.

The lining is the same pale pink fabric I used for the collar.
I sewed up the pockets-and-underskirt with no tulle version, and added piping as well, on the collar and at the waist. My girl is 4.5, and a bit on the small side, but she loves a big long skirt, so I sewed a size 4 bodice with a size 5 skirt.  The bodice is roomy, but not so much that she can't wear it, and I feel like it will fit for a while (which is good since it was an investment!).  I love the way this fabric moves, with the pattern's full skirt and underskirt--it's just as graceful as my girl!

Tiny dancer
But this is definitely a summery-feeling dress, and it is the first week of October.  Even when it's warm out, Little Sister likes to throw a cardigan on over her clothes, so I thought it would be fun to have a little coordinating cardi.  I love mixing prints, so this was a bit of my style thrown in--especially since I love the blues and turquoise in the print, but for Little Sister's style I featured the pink on her dress accents.

I based the cardi off of a little pink shrug that Little Sister wears all the time.  And as I was looking at it to get ready to make this new cardi, I realized that with all of the wear it gets (plus the other two girls who wore it before handing it down to us), that it might be time to replace that cardi anyway.  So I made this one reversible--the light pink on the inside is a pretty close match to the old one.

Little Sister likes this side better, because she says the striped fabric is softer against her skin.
Both cardi fabrics came from Girl Charlee--the pink is a baby rib knit, and the stripe is a cotton jersey blend.  In my opinion, BOTH are super soft!

I almost forgot to show off the back!  But boo, I didn't get any pictures of my perfectly invisible invisible zipper.

I made the sleeves a little longer than normal so that I could cuff them to show the opposite fabric, and I used a hook-and-eye closure so that it could be easily closed from either side.

I used one of my little scraps to make a matching headband too.  It's just a tube of fabric, then I made some pleats at the end and tucked a piece of Foldover Elastic in both ends and sewed it together!  Easy peasy.  Going to make a few in different fabrics for myself.

Which she actually does like, I promise!
It's funny--I was looking at pictures of Little Sister taken about two and a half years ago, where she was wearing a dress my mom had made for me when I was two (the third dress in this post, if you're curious).  It was in a fancy fabric (I was a flower girl in her friend's wedding), and it had a piped collar and waistband, and I remember thinking, I would NEVER be able to sew these kinds of details!  But guess what?  Here I am, doing it!  And I must say, I am pretty proud of the results.  And while I would consider this dress to be more fancy than everyday, Little Sister disagrees--she has worn it three days in a row, somehow keeping it clean, and wants to wear it to school this week.  I helped her choose something else for tomorrow, since she has both PE and Art, but she assured me it was great for running fast!  This dress definitely has Little Sister's signature style written all over it.

Oh!  And I have been watching the dreamy outfits that have been coming from the I [heart] Marcel Marlier series that Straight Grain and sewpony are hosting, and even though I have never been exposed to Marcel Marlier's books before, I feel pretty confident in linking this look up with their sewalong--between the peter pan collar, the full skirt, the cardigan, and the headband, I'm pretty sure this outfit works!


  1. That's such a lovely outfit! I love the reversible cardigan and the details on the dress. And the fabric! I'm not a huge fan of licensed characters either but I remember seeing that Liberty of London online. I like that you have to look closely to see Hello Kitty.

    1. That's why I thought I could get away with it--you wouldn't know from a distance that it has Hello Kitty on it! Thank you!

  2. The combination of the stripe and print takes this dress to another level! Then you go and make it reversible and take it up another level. Great job.
    Deborah @ Sew Much To Give

  3. Beth, such a lovely combination of fabrics! The Hello Kitty in that print is so classy, who would have guessed. The reversible cardigan is perfect too. Wonderful sewn style.

  4. Congrats on a beautiful dress and cardigan! I love that the cardi is reversible too.

  5. I love the colors. Great outfit!

  6. Lovely dress, especially love it with the cardi! I have seen some Hello Kitty Liberty, and I was not impressed. I think you must have picked the best print because I do love this one. Those colors are great on your pretty daughter!

  7. Hi I'm Caitlin from the Girl Charlee Team! We love this outfit, especially the cardigan :) Look for it in our November Knit Picks on!

  8. so cute!!! I love the reversible cardi!!! Perfect for both sew a longs!! I just linked up my all boy style and I'm loving all the other links! Emily

  9. This is so stinking cute! Liberty + hello kitty = awesome! That cardi is wonderful with it as well. Good work!

  10. Love the green striped fabric with the liberty print! I'm not always a fan of print mixing, but some I love and this is one of them :) And the peter pan collar too--just adorbs ;)

  11. I love love love the cardigan. Which is pretty amazing as, don't tell anyone, but I'm not a big fan of peter pan collars. My daughter would love the dress and headband, but I daren't show her as she'd demand I'd make one and I probably couldn't source the fabric (probably for the best, cost considered)

    1. Thanks so much! I've only made one other peter pan collar, and this dress just seems to cry out for one. The cardigan just has a plain top though--the collar is poking out from the dress underneath!

  12. I'm in love with the reversible cardi. And liberty fabric? Lucky you! It's just gorgeous and I'm glad it's a little big so it will last her longer. Isn't it fun to see just how far you've come with sewing? Things that seemed so difficult at the beginning just come naturally.

  13. Love both dress and cardigan! Great choice on fabrics!
    I grew up with Marcel Marlier's books and I can tell that outfit is perfect!


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